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Oct
23

Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

For the past couple of years, I have been talking about the importance of Christians studying Biblical Hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the discipline of study by which we learn how to read, interpret and understand the various books and literary genres of the Bible. I have often been asked what books or resources I recommend. I like: Principles of Biblical Interpretation, by Louis Berkhof. I also highly recommend checking out some of the books by D.A. Carson. However, their books are a bit academic, and some people find them a bit challenging. I just discovered Youth Apologetic’s Training’s FREE online course on Hermeneutics and would encourage you to check it for yourself and/or your teen: Biblical Hermeneutics Made Simple Check out Michael Boehm’s articles here: http://youthapologeticstraining.com/category/doctrine/hermeneutics/ Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and Director of Family Renewal, LLC. He is the Site Editor for...
Oct
16

Conviction vs. Condemnation

Within the past several weeks I have talked with several sincere Christians who independently told me that they live under a constant weight of guilt and condemnation. The worst part of that struggle was the uncertainty of the source of their feelings. None of them were able to know for sure whether God was condemning them, or if they were living with a false guilt that was generated from themselves or the enemy. There are some people I know who are harder on themselves than anyone else ever could be. Most people, on the other hand, are like me and make too many excuses for their bad behavior. There are some people who can sin overtly without the slightest sign of guilt or remorse. On the other hand, there are people who feel condemned by God most of the time, even when they haven’t knowingly done anything wrong. Where is the proper balance? Let’s look at the difference between conviction and condemnation in the hopes that God may use this study to give you clarity and direction if you struggle with this issue. Did Jesus Condemn People? “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). “When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those thing accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?’ She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more'” (John 8:10-11). When Jesus was on earth, His mission was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). In Luke 19 Jesus was going to eat at the home to Zacchaeus, who was a well-known, wealthy sinner. Jesus was condemned by onlookers for entering his home, but Jesus was on a mission of redemption. Zacchaeus was so touched by the relational evangelism of Jesus that he declared that he would give half of his goods to the poor and if he had cheated anyone, he would make restitution, four-fold. Jesus said, “This day is salvation come to this house!” (vs. 9a). Jesus goal was not to condemn Zacchaeus, but rather to see him brought into a right relationship with God. Should You Feel Condemned? Jesus was clear that one day there would be a final judgment (Luke 11:31-32), and people would condemn themselves, by their own words (Matthew...
Oct
6

How to Win an Argument with a Biblically Literate Christian!

How to Win an Argument with a Biblically Literate Christian! I’ve learned (from Facebook) the fastest ways to be dismissive of someone who has a stronger Biblical argument than you. 1. Say, “Don’t judge me!” This seems to be the only “Bible verse” that EVERYONE knows. They will have no choice but to bow the knee!  2. If that doesn’t work, say, “You are taking the Bible out of context.” This will send them running with their tail between their legs!  Even if they post the ENTIRE BIBLE, stick with this one. 3. Tell them, “That is just your interpretation.” This works for anything. Even, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” can be dismissed with this (and the previous) argument. 4. If someone quotes something from the Old Testament, just say, “That doesn’t apply. That is the Old Testament. We’re under grace, not the Law.” If someone quotes something from the New Testament, say, “That was just to their culture, it doesn’t apply to ours.” 5. This one is a killer! When faced with a Scripture that you simply can’t refute any other way, say, “I prayed about it, and God showed me that this is the opposite of what you believe!” This argument is airtight! They won’t dare argue with God! 🙂 6. If all else fails, resort to name-calling and personal insults. These are the best ways to ensure that you never end up having to change your position on anything! The only other recourse is to actually read and study the Bible for yourself, so you know what the Bible really teaches. But that, of course, takes effort and diligence. These six methods will save you a lot of time and hassle. Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and the Director of Family Renewal, LLC. He is also the Site Editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net   “Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.By graur razvan ionut, published on 22 August 2010 Stock Photo – image ID:...
Oct
6

The Regulative Principle vs. The Normative Principle

The Regulative Principle vs. The Normative Principle I believe that a huge number of disagreements between Christians come from a fundamental difference in the way we do Hermeneutics (the discipline of how we study, understand and interpret Scripture within its various literary genres and historical contexts). Reformed theologians have created a couple of concepts to help them discuss worship within the church: The Regulative Principle and The Normative Principle. Typically they ONLY apply these principles to the discipline of Ecclesiology (how we do worship in the church), but I believe that the concepts behind them are useful for Christians as handles to help us get ahold of why we disagree on so many issues. The Regulative Principle This principle teaches, in essence, that we may only do that which God has actually prescribed in the Scripture. So in worship, we should not, for example, engage in skits for church, or “special music,” because these things are not prescribed by God as the function of believers as they meet in an formal setting for worship. (I’m not arguing for or against those things, just giving an example of a Regulative-type argument.) The Normative Principle This principle says that we may do anything that God does not strictly prohibit. If God doesn’t say NOT to sing from a hymn book, or use PowerPoint, or show a Batman movie, or have a weight-lifting team break bricks with their heads, etc., then it should be allowed in corporate worship. As I said, I believe these distinctions reflect fundamental, epistemological differences regarding the way we read and apply God’s word to matters of life and practice as believers. Paul dealt with this tension in Romans 14 when he discussed Christian liberty. Some Christians feel they have liberty to do anything that God doesn’t outright forbid, and other feel they need to stay close to what is encouraged and directed in Scripture. The Forbiden “You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’–but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’–but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, NLT) When Paul says here that “everything is permissible,” he CLEARLY DOES NOT mean  EVERYTHING, for in 1 Corinthians 6 and Galatians 5 he gives a list of behaviors which, if practiced as a lifestyle, with no turning and repentance, will keep you from eternal life. But within the spectrum of what God does not forbid (The Normative Principle) Paul is clear that you MAY do it. It’s a...

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© Israel Wayne.